Fighting Negative Forces in the Government
When the news that came from the office of the president, that as part of the Millennium Developmental Goals of Vision 2030, a modern railway gauge would be constructed from the coast line through my area which was remote and often neglected in terms of developments, I felt some relieve. Everyone in the community felt glad about this.
We knew that this was an opportunity for us to uplift ourselves because of the numerous business opportunities which we would launched in the nearby. There are some who figured out that they would be entitled for compensation and thus they would have some cash for other needs such as starting their businesses.
The massive grabbing
However the project was delayed for almost five years because of what was termed as logistical problems before concerned parties came mapping the area as well as ascertaining the beneficiaries who were to be compensated. It was then that we realized that most of the land was registered to some unknown firms as ranches and other agricultural practices.
This really shocked us because we were born here and as much as the most of the land was not under use because of the aridity of the region, we were the rightful owners. We demanded to know about what was happening, but being born poor means that you have no voice against the mighty. All our efforts to dialogue with the people concerned proved futile.
Apparently, some powerful people in the government as well as previous cabinet ministers and other influential had teamed up for a scandal by forming shadow firms with which they used to have large tracts of land registered on. We were left with just few regions and there wasn’t much to do about it. The deal was carefully done and backdated to several years back and they termed us as squatters.
Fighting for justice.
Something had to be done fast. Since there seemed that all our lamentations were falling on deaf ears, we called up a meeting where we came up with a plan to make our voices heard. In our planning, we knew that for our voices to be heard, we needed to be vocal especially through organizing demonstrations. Since we were considered a minority group, the best way to do this would entail involving human rights groups and other NGOs who would helps us in our cries. I was appointed the secretary and my duties of contact all these parties started.
Our mission leaked out and I started receiving threats. I feared for my life and went into hiding from where I secretly operated. Luckily, most the parties that we had invited heard our cries and came to our aid. We organized the first demo which was supposed to take place in the nearby town for three as we sought to be addressed.
During the riots, we ferried all the demonstrators to the town where we had planned to camp for three days. We had organized this thoroughly and the event was captured by our local and international media and due to the pressure, the president came to address us on the final day of the demos, the president came to address us and ordered for immediate investigation.
That’s was the power of working together to pressure the government.